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EU Revives Decision to Fine Cargo Airlines Over Price-Fixing

[ March 24, 2017   //   ]

The European Commission’s antitrust regulator reports that it is re-imposing $835.6 million in fines against 10 air cargo carriers after redrawing a complaint that a court threw out in 2015. Those carriers are Air Canada, Air France-KLM, British Airways, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, LAN Chile, Martinair, SAS and Singapore Airlines.

An 11th carrier involved in the case, Qantas, had accepted the verdict and was not part of the challenge to the 2010 ruling. Lufthansa, and subsidiary Swiss International, had brought the cartel to the attention of the commission and received full immunity from the case.

The original fines were annulled in December 2015 due to procedural missteps by the regulator. The carriers were accused of colluding to fix fuel and security surcharges between December 1999 and February 2006.

“Millions of businesses depend on air cargo services, which carry more than 20 percent of all E.U. imports and nearly 30 percent of E.U. exports,” said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, EC’s competition policy head. “Working together in a cartel rather than competing to offer better services to customers does not fly with the Commission. Today’s decision ensures that companies that were part of the air cargo cartel are sanctioned for their behavior.”

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